Hundreds of riders took advantage over the weekend of a burst of warm autumnal sun and headed to Tunnel Hill in the first of the two Endura Autumn Classic XC races hosted by those bastions of grass roots racing, Gorrick.
The bone dry trails kicked up clouds of dust as the riders pedalled hard testing themselves against their peers over the buff tracks tweaked to perfection by the Tunnel Hill Trolls, who put their hard work to good use, as after their respective races, members of this popular club took part in a one lap sprint. Winner of this fun filled spectacle was Graham Ford with Baz Poff coming second.
After a 2-year absence from the racing calendar the return of the Tunnel Hill venue proved incredibly popular with its heady cocktail of fast flowing singletrack interspersed with enough climbing and technical sections to let you push yourself as far as you wanted. As wave after wave of racing categories set off in pursuit of that elusive podium spot, those eager racers were quickly replaced with wave after wave of dusty, tired but incredibly happy riders eager to fill those used up calories with steaming mugs of tea and hot bacon butties while they waited to find out if they were the lucky ones, who’d managed to win a fantastic prize from event sponsor Endura. You didn’t have to be a winner in this event just a contender to be in with a chance of some classic mountain bike clobber from the UK’s best clothing brand.
Biggest field of the day had to be the open race where nearly a hundred riders fancied their chances over three laps of the race. Top step honours went to Paul Thomas after an all guns blazing battle with Shaun Hurrell, coming home a scant four seconds ahead of Hurrell to take the win. The fun men category looked pretty healthy with over 60 riders eager to have a go. Their two-lap race was taken by a fast riding Matt Eley.
Once again it was great to see an impressive turn out of women contenders, mixing it with the men.
Evergreen Viv Hazelton took the win in the Grand Vets race, with Roz Giles taking a win for Numplumz in the open women’s race wit h a comfortable 3 min 48 sec cushion ahead of Kym Harvey.
In the super masters race it looked like the entire beautiful pro elbow moves employed by Jamie Newall would pay dividends. Keen to prove this assumption wrong was David Miller and Marc Chamberlain, both hot on the heels of the Corley rider who led from the start. Despite clawing Newall back to within spitting distance, Miller and Chamberlain had to concede the win, with just 18 secs separating the three.
Comprehensive results of all the days’ races can be found at www.timelaps.co.uk
If you think you missed an epic day in the careful hands of the ever-enthusiastic Gorrick crew, then you’d be right! Don’t worry; you’ll be pleased to hear that you’ll get another chance to try out your racing legs and the chance to grab yourself a fab prize at the second of the Endura Autumn Classics. The date to note in your diary is the 13th November. This time the race heads to Crowthorne. Undamaged trails after the unfortunate fire earlier in the year await you. We can’t guarantee another cracking weekend weather wise but we can guarantee loads of winter XC fun. Why not come out and play??
For more details head on over to www.gorrick.com
For images of Gorrick events check out www.joolzedymond.com
Words and images thanks to Joolze Dymond.